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Economic evaluation of an oral rabies vaccination program for control of a domestic dog–coyote rabies epizootic: 1995–2006

Stephanie A. ShwiffUnited States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.

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Katy N. KirkpatrickUnited States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.

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Ray T. SternerUnited States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.

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Abstract

Objective—To conduct a benefit-cost analysis of the results of the domestic dog and coyote (DDC) oral rabies vaccine (ORV) program in Texas from 1995 through 2006 by use of fiscal records and relevant public health data.

Design—Retrospective benefit-cost analysis.

Procedures—Pertinent economic data were collected in 20 counties of south Texas affected by a DDC-variant rabies epizootic. The costs and benefits afforded by a DDC ORV program were then calculated. Costs were the total expenditures of the ORV program. Benefits were the savings associated with the number of potentially prevented human postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatments and animal rabies tests for the DDC-variant rabies virus in the epizootic area and an area of potential disease expansion.

Results—Total estimated benefits of the program approximately ranged from $89 million to $346 million, with total program costs of $26,358,221 for the study period. The estimated savings (ie, damages avoided) from extrapolated numbers of PEP treatments and animal rabies tests yielded benefit-cost ratios that ranged from 3.38 to 13.12 for various frequen-cies of PEP and animal testing.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In Texas, the use of ORV stopped the northward spread and led to the progressive elimination of the DDC variant of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans). The decision to implement an ORV program was cost-efficient, although many unknowns were involved in the original decision, and key economic variables were identified for consideration in future planning of ORV programs.

Abstract

Objective—To conduct a benefit-cost analysis of the results of the domestic dog and coyote (DDC) oral rabies vaccine (ORV) program in Texas from 1995 through 2006 by use of fiscal records and relevant public health data.

Design—Retrospective benefit-cost analysis.

Procedures—Pertinent economic data were collected in 20 counties of south Texas affected by a DDC-variant rabies epizootic. The costs and benefits afforded by a DDC ORV program were then calculated. Costs were the total expenditures of the ORV program. Benefits were the savings associated with the number of potentially prevented human postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatments and animal rabies tests for the DDC-variant rabies virus in the epizootic area and an area of potential disease expansion.

Results—Total estimated benefits of the program approximately ranged from $89 million to $346 million, with total program costs of $26,358,221 for the study period. The estimated savings (ie, damages avoided) from extrapolated numbers of PEP treatments and animal rabies tests yielded benefit-cost ratios that ranged from 3.38 to 13.12 for various frequen-cies of PEP and animal testing.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In Texas, the use of ORV stopped the northward spread and led to the progressive elimination of the DDC variant of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans). The decision to implement an ORV program was cost-efficient, although many unknowns were involved in the original decision, and key economic variables were identified for consideration in future planning of ORV programs.

Contributor Notes

Presented in part at the Rabies in the Americas Conference, Guanajuato, Mexico, September to October 2007, and at the USDA Wildlife Services National Rabies Program Rabies Management Team Meeting, San Antonio, Tex, March 2007.

Supported by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services.

The authors thank Thomas Sidwa and Ernest Oertli for providing data and technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Shwiff.